COVID-19 testing at the wrong time could lead to false results

COVID-19 testing at the wrong time could lead to false results

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Being tested for COVID-19 is important in the fight against the virus, but could the timing of your test be causing false results?

After being exposed to COVID-19, your first reaction might be to go get tested immediately, but doctors say that’s not always the best course of action.

A lot of physicians are seeing patients coming in for testing the day after exposure, and that’s usually too early to get a true result.

Clara Jones is a nurse practitioner with NEA Baptist, she says it’s recommended to wait five to seven days after exposure to get tested.

Coming in earlier for testing could lead to a false negative.

“If you test negative and you go back around your daily life and business you could be potentially spreading it to other people without knowing," said Jones. "So we really want to make sure that if a patient is positive we’re catching that true positive and they’re quarantining properly to prevent the spread.”

Even if you have symptoms, Jones says it’s still three to four days after symptoms begin before you could test positive for the virus.

Once you’ve had symptoms for at least three days or waited at least five days after possible exposure, that’s when you should go get tested.

And while you’re waiting until the appropriate time to go get tested, doctors recommend quarantining and always wearing your mask.

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